Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Steering a Ship

I once heard a designer say "I'm steering this ship" as an explanation of his role on the project, and I have often thought of that analogy since then.  If the project is a ship, then the designer who is tasked with finding the creative direction would make sense to be the person steering (or at least the person navigating).  Steering the ship seems like an exciting job, you can see your destination ahead and all it takes is convincing the ship to go in the right direction.

So the ship is the project, and it is afloat on the great open sea of ideas, and you - the designer - are steering it.  Ahead is a beautiful island that you know to be your destination, it is near enough that you can just make it out, but far enough that you are not sure how long it will take to get there.  In the beginning the sailing is smooth enough, the only trouble is the wind and water keep changing direction, but nothing your trusty crew can't handle.  As you continue along you start to notice your ship is veering left and right, and it is hard to stay on course, but you are not discouraged, you can still see the beautiful destination island ahead, and you know it will all be worth the trouble.  Then you start to notice other problems: the rudder no longer works, parts of the ship are falling off, you didn't bring enough rope, half your crew has gotten sea sick...Still, that island is growing ever nearer...Or you think it is.  That's when you notice that there are actually 5 islands ahead, and your crew look to you to pick one.  At this distance they all look the same, but you know that only one is the right one, which one to pick?  You try to convince your crew that you should visit each island in turn to determine the best one, but it is futile, the ship can only make the journey to one island if you are lucky.  So you make your best educated guess, you point your ship toward an island you think is the best and you forge onward.  The wind has been steadily picking up, and at this point it blows into a full storm.  Morale is low as your crew clings to the ship and tries to hold it upright, wondering if they will survive this storm as they have survived the storms of the past.  The storms clears and the remains of your ship and crew wash up onto the shore of an island...is it the right island?  After all you've been through, you can't even remember, but your crew runs ashore cheering and dancing in the sand, and it's the right island now.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Nov 4 Playtest Match 3 Card Game

I playtested the match 3 card game with Antonio, a fellow designer, and received some great feedback:

 - To set it apart from digital games, it could use more card game elements such as a 'hand' of cards the opponent cannot see, and ways to counter the opponent
 - Would be interesting to have other rules or instructions on one side of the card
 - Needs more complexity, another variable beyond color and direction of movement
 - Could add a way to score points, maybe each card could have a number of points on it as a variable
 - Some cards should be able to affect other cards
 - Would be fun to set traps for the oponent

Potential ideas for changes based on this playtest:

 - Each player has a hand of cards, and can use them to swap out cards from the play area
 - Card in the hand can be used directly against the opponent (counter)
 - Have special instructions on certain cards
 - Might need a separate deck for cards dealt into the hand